The Big Deuce is a two mile open water swim race. Last year I did this one as a part of Ironman training, and it served that purpose well. My 1:06:29 time was pretty good, it got me timed out for the IMFL swim and gave me some confidence. With this not being an Ironman training year I did not see the need to do this one again. They also run the Little Uno at the same time, a one mile swim race. So the smart thing to do would be to hit the Little Uno, have some fun, and call it at that. For some reason, come registration time, I decided to double down again. I know really I was only trained for a one mile swim, but I figured I would just go out there and see what I could make happen.
Up and at it at 6 am, I made it to the race site later than I had hoped but still barely in time. Run to pick up my chip and get bodymarked, ran to the bathroom, dumped the clothes off at the car and made it to the starting beach just in time.
Well, just in time to take that picture. It was a gloomy day, and those people in the water? They were waiting and ready for the 2 mile start. I threw the camera down and got in there with them.
So of course the start was delayed for about 10 minutes. Just when I thought I was really late, there's a delay. Then we all had to get out of the water and back in again so we could get checked in with the timing mat. This was a new timing system for FS Series, and it was pretty slick. The chips are huge so it felt pretty uncomfortable, but I eventually did get used to it.
Finally we took off, and the first thing I did was a dolphin dive. When I pushed off for the dive, of course I speared a rock and bloodied my big toe. Here's a pic that I took later:
So that's a pretty horrible way to start. Nobody likes to kick off a race with excruciating pain, but apparently it worked for me. The start was really crowded, and I had to swim around a few people anyway so my kick wasn't as hard as it could have been. I still tried to find clear water, and pull away from as many people as I could.
After the first turn the crowd thinned out a bit. The course was a triangle that we had to take two laps on. So the long stretches went from the first turn buoy to the second, then it was only about 100 yards to the third turn bouy before the long stretch getting back to the first one. Between 1 and 2, I found my stroke and settled into a nice pace. I wasn't trying to push it too hard then, and I did end up getting off course a bit. I realized how my left arm was crossing the middle line when I was turning to breathe, that's what was pulling me to the right. So after that calmed down it was just a nice relaxing time in the lake.
In the 100 yards between 2 and 3 on the first lap, there was a lot of chop on the water from boats or something. It got pretty crowded again as well. The 1 mile race started 10 minutes after the 2 mile race did, so I think that was when the faster 1 milers caught up with me. Since they were in the home stretch heading back to the first bouy and finish line, I ended up getting passed a lot there. But eventually I made the turn for lap #2 and got rid of all of that Uno traffic.
I swam straight and strong, and just tried to hold a steady pace and keep my heart rate low. The toe was still killing me, and I was watching my kick form. When I made it around the 3rd turn on lap 2, I really tried to increase the strength of my kick to add a bit of speed in there. Since I felt undertrained anyway for this distance, my real goal was just to finish and get home. But I always want to break 30 minutes in the open water mile, so if I could actually break an hour that would be amazing. I went hard to the finish with minimal hopes.
I ended up crossing the line in 59:04!!! This is completely unexpected. I thought for sure I was going to be more like 1:05 again. But I actually broke an hour. Totally shocked. Hanging out on the beach for a while, I snapped a couple of pics:
|I love the orange wavy guy in the background|
|You can see the clock behind me, it reads 1:04|
I made it up to the after party thing and they actually had results printed. I still couldn't believe it. Then I saw on there where I took second place in my age group! So I had to stick around for the awards then. Turns out I was right, they announced the awards and I got one!
Of course, there's only one proper use for a pilsner glass you get as an age group award:
You have to fill it with beer. So I indulged a bit that evening. Again this was totally unexpected. I didn't think I was going to break an hour. I finished 22nd overall and 2nd in the male 35-39 age group. I was the last person to break an hour. Usually it's only the fast people who do that in these types of races, they are incredibly competetive. I'm still not in that class but to turn in a comporable performance is pretty incredible.
I also have to give a shout-out to Nancy, a local blog reader that recognized me and said hi. I never get recognized at these things for my silly ramblings on here, so that was really cool.